GSK marketing exec turns whistleblower says doctors bribed to boost sales

A former marketing exec for Britain’s biggest drug company, GlaxoSmithKline, alleges that the company  bribed doctors in Poland using money that was meant to be spent on educating patients.The whistleblower Jarek wisniewiski, claims that money put aside to teach patients in Poland about an asthma drug, Seretide, actually went towards paying doctors to prescribe more of the medicine. Wisniewiski, who was with the company for eight years until 2012, worked on a marketing program across the country in 2010 to push the asthma drug. 

He says that although officially the money was to be spent on medical training, in reality it was used to bribe doctors to boost the company’s sales. Wisniewiski says he told GSK that he was unhappy with the arrangement — an admission that he says resulted in him being sidelined at work and eventually sacked.

The allegations have not been established but if found to be true, GSK may have violated both the UK’s Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In both countries it is illegal for companies operating there to bribe government employees abroad.

GSK says it is investigating the allegations. A chief executive has stated that the company has “zero tolerance” with respect to the issues raised in the allegations and is co-operating fully with investigators.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers